Scottish VMUG – Keynote by Scott Lowe

20160206 - 1It’s fantastic to see yet another “big-hitter” like Scott Lowe at the Scottish VMUG. I’ve been following his work (and blog) for a while now, and it was a pleasure to meet him in person. He kicked off the VMUG with his keynote address on current trends.

Geeks focus too much on the technology, but the reality is that technology serves the business. Regardless of which sector you work in, technology drives the business.

Technologists often focus on technology at the detriment to the business. We should be trying to make the business more profitable/competitive.

It all boils down to the following:

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Image courtesy of Joe Baguley / VMware

Who are you competitors?

You start with raw info, then you process it, then comes the app. The faster you get through the cycle, the faster you get to market / become more nimble

So what are the trends that have evolved as a result?


How do we get software from Dev to Ops quicker, safer and with less errors?

It rose out of a need to eliminate delays and problems.

DevOps != Automation. It’s primarily about culture and process. Don’t just automate a broken process. Automation is is important but not the be all and end all.

  • Culture
  • Automation
  • Lean
  • Metrics
  • Share

Automation removes the room for human error. A recent study found that 80% of all network outages are human error.

DevOps and automation can give repeatable and predictable results.

Cloud computing

Different way to approach and handle workloads. Traditional computing hidden behind massive layers of automation.

Without automation you just have IT infrastructure. Automation makes the Cloud.

Why Cloud computing?

  • Faster “mean time till I can get work done”
  • Self-service IT infrastructure
  • No more waiting on servers or VMs
  • “Unlimited capacity” (from the consumer’s perspective)
  • Automation is a necessity

Unfortunately Cloud computing has given rise to shadow IT (AWS, Dropbox et al).

You can have a 99% virtualized datacentre, but without automation you don’t have cloud computing. That’s infrastructure-by-ticket.

Puppet, Chef and Ansible are the market leaders.

Jevon’s Paradox… the easier to produce something the more that gets consumed.


OS-level constructs that isolate applications on shared compute. As with everything, it has advantages and disadvantages.

Docker is king of the container space.

Why Docker?

  • Makes it super easy to deploy applications
  • Docker advocates a “single process per container model”
  • Naturally leads toward a microservices-based architecture
  • Application is decomposed into smaller, more focused services
  • 1 application = many services, 1 service = multiple containers
  • Manual operations in a microservices-based architecture simply don’t cut it

Docker breaks legacy applications (monoliths) into smaller services. For example Twitter is a bunch of microservices presented to the user as a single application.

Even though there is more to manage, we can provision and tear it down quicker.

Kubernetes orchestrates containers. A pod is a group of containers and is presented to the outside world as Services. Services make up applications.

Heavily leverages load-balancing as a key element.


  • Microservices-based architectures mean more endpoints
  • Container orchestration tools mean endpoints being created and/or destroyed in automation fashion
  • Cloud computing models mean logical network constructs being created and destroyed on the fly
  • Security is needed in all these cases
  • This simply can’t be done without some form of network automation

So where does NSX fit into all of this?

VMware NSX is ket to getting around “the cycle”. Doesn’t solve everything. The VM and network may be sorted, but if you’re still waiting for storage LUNs to be created, you still have a constraint.

NSX enables network automation.

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Supports the following use case:

  • Private cloud use cases (via vRA or Openstack)
  • Public cloud use cases (demonstrated at VMworld 2015)
  • Microservices-based architecture with Docker
  • Provides the distributed network services needed (switching, routing, firewalling, load-balancing)
  • Hardware-agnostic (only requires IP connectivity). Fork-lifting your existing network is not needed

What if we could do distributed load-balancing in the hypervisor? Mind blown! 🙂


VMware feels NSX is important in the industry today. It will assist the consumption of capacity-on-demand.

If you want to know more, check out the VMware Hands-on-Labs.

One thought on “Scottish VMUG – Keynote by Scott Lowe

  1. Pingback: Newsletter: April 23, 2016 | Notes from MWhite

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